Texas Laws Concerning Driving Under the Influence of Drugs

While it is not uncommon for many to associate driving while intoxicated (DWI) offenses primarily with alcohol, the fact is that many incidents stem from the use of legal or illegal drugs. The consequences of driving while impaired by drugs may be serious and that is why Texas treats such conduct as a grave threat.

If a charge in this realm has been lodged against you, a Fort Worth drug DWI lawyer can help build the legal defense you deserve. A dedicated attorney can help guide you through the legal system while aggressively protecting your rights.

Texas Laws Concerning Driving Under the Influence of Drugs

In terms of the potential penalties, there is no practical difference between driving drunk and driving while impaired due to drugs. As such, the definitions and potential sanctions outlined by Title 10, Chapter 49 of the Texas Penal Code apply in cases involving the operation of a vehicle in either circumstance.

Unlawful intoxication, as articulated by the statute, is defined as lacking the normal use of physical or mental faculties because of the introduction into the body of alcohol, drugs, controlled substances or a combination thereof.

Types of Drugs Leading to a DWI Charge

Anyone who takes to the road in Fort Worth needs to understand that the prohibition against operating a vehicle while impaired by drugs includes a broad array of substances beyond the more common examples such as cocaine and marijuana.

Controlled substances can certainly give rise to a DUI charge, but so can over-the-counter drugs or medications lawfully prescribed by a physician. Provided that a driver was allegedly impaired to the point of causing danger, they may face criminal charges regardless of the drug involved.

Potential Penalties

Those arrested for drug DWI charges may face severe sentences that may include incarceration, periods of probation, costly fines, loss of license, and more. Additionally, these charges could result in a criminal record. The impact of having a criminal record may produce employment difficulties, permanently damage a person’s reputation, or cause the loss of professional licenses. For these reasons, anyone facing these charges should seek the services of a Fort Worth drug DWI attorney as soon as possible.

Specifically, first-time offenders may face fines upwards of $2,000, up to 180 days in jail, a year without a driver’s license, and ancillary financial penalties. A second offense may result in up to a full year in jail, a $4,000 fine, and a two-year loss of license. Third offenses may be punishable by upwards of a decade behind bars and a $10,000 fine.

Cases involving injury, death, or the presence of minors may bring significant sentence enhancements. DUI charges may also trigger an ignition interlock installation requirement, as provided by Texas Transportation Code §521.246.

Defense Strategies

Facing charges related to driving while intoxicated by drugs can be a jarring experience for anyone. However, legal arguments and tactics may be available to help individuals seek the best possible outcome based on their case.

For instance, a seasoned drug DWI lawyer in Fort Worth will work to determine if the initial traffic stop giving rise to the allegations was itself lawful, whether the evidence was appropriately gathered and maintained, or whether there may be other constitutional factors involved that could weaken the state’s case.

Let a Fort Worth Drug DWI Attorney Help

Far too many motorists in Texas are unaware that they are at risk of prosecution for drug DWI, even if they are using substances or medications that were legally obtained. Given the lasting and onerous nature of the prospective penalties upon conviction, nobody facing these charges should want to proceed without the knowledgeable assistance of a Fort Worth drug DWI lawyer.

An attorney can help you thoroughly understand the charges you are facing so that you can determine the best path forward. They can also help guide you through the legal process and act as an ally throughout this difficult time.

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